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Poole on Revelation 9:11: Abaddon

Verse 11:[1] (Eph. 2:2) And they had a king over them, which is (Rev. 9:1) the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon (that is to say, a destroyer).

[And they had, etc., καὶ ἔχουσιν, etc.] [But Grotius reads ἔχουσαι,[2] and he adds this:] He takes the feminine gender from the figure ἀκρίδων, of locusts. But in some manuscripts it is ἔχουσι (Grotius). And they had over them a king (Pareus). Therefore, these were not natural locusts (Cluverus), which do not have a King, Proverbs 30:27 (Cluverus, Pareus), but mystical locusts (Cluverus). They were saying that they desired to have no King except God: but the reality was otherwise (Grotius). It indicates that these Locusts are going to be a Nation, not Christian, but infidel, which had not given its name to Christ; which is under the Prince of the air, Ephesians 2:2, who is the Angel of the Abyss (Mede’s Works 583).

[The Angel of the Abyss] That is, of the Infernal Regions, or Tartarus (Drusius, Louis Cappel). They understand here, either, 1. the Serpent, or the Dragon (Mede’s Works 583), Satan, or the Devil (Ribera, Gravius, Cluverus, Drusius, Louis Cappel, thus Grotius, Hammond, Mede’s Works 583), whom God shuts up in prison when He wills (Grotius); who is said to be shut up in the Abyss (Cluverus), Revelation 20:1 (Cluverus, Grotius), who had long ago fallen from heaven unto earth, Revelation 9:1, whom Michael, with the Trumpets not yet sounding, had driven from heaven to the earth.[3] For I do no remember that this is read of another besides him in the whole Apocalypse, that he had fallen from heaven (Mede’s Works 532). This one was stirring up the locusts inwardly, and was leading them like a King, just as he pleased (Ribera, Menochius). However, he does not understand the Prince of the Infernal Region, but an emissary Angel of Satan; so that that most severe and plainly Diabolical character of that Emperor might be noted (Cotterius). Or, 2. a good Angel, as show, 1. that this one now descends, even indeed willingly, from heaven after the likeness of a star, while the Devil had formerly fallen, etc.: 2. that the key of the Abyss is entrusted to a good Angel, Revelation 20:1-3, while Satan is imprisoned there, and is not able to open the Abyss: 3. that this Angel does not destroy souls, but bodies, even indeed of the impious, Revelation 9:4, 5, 20, while the Devil attempts to destroy souls, even the pious, etc. Even good Angels are called destroyers, Exodus 12:23; 1 Corinthians 10:10, since they destroy men, as in Genesis 19:13; 2 Samuel 24:15, 16; 2 Kings 19:35. This Angel is a destroyer by Office, Revelation 9:1, 2, not out of Malice (Anonymous). Or, 3. the Emperor of the Turks (Napier, similarly Mede) [concerning which, more things soon]. Or, 4. Antichrist (Pareus, Lightfoot’s Harmony, Chronicle, and Order of the New Testament 158), called the Angel of the Abyss; for thence he receives his power and commissions, and faithfully serves that Kingdom of darkness, and is the Vicar of the Dragon, Revelation 13. It manifestly indicates the Pope, whose is the highest majesty and absolute power, etc. (Piscator, Lightfoot). This Angel is the same as the star falling from heaven, to whom the key of the abyss was entrusted, Revelation 9:1, who is the beast, Revelation 13, to whom the Dragon gave his own power (Durham).

[Whose name Hebraically (understand, is [Piscator]) Abaddon, Ἀβαδδών] אֲבַדּוֹן[4] (Erasmus, Drusius, Grotius, etc.); both actively (Drusius), that is, destroyer, or, one destroying (Erasmus, thus Durham): and passively, to be destroyed (Durham). אֲבַדּוֹן in the Old Testament is a word synonymous with שְׁאוֹל/Sheol, Job 26:6;[5] 28:22;[6] 31:12;[7] Psalm 88:11.[8] Which passages are able to be taken both of the Grave and state of the Dead, and of hell (Louis Cappel). אֲבַדּוֹן in the Old Testament signifies three things, destruction, the grave, and hell. In that most ancient book Zohar,[9] it is written that among the dead there are two contiguous regions, שאול/Sheol and אבדון/Abaddon, from the former men are finally transferred when their debt is paid, from the latter they are never liberated. Abaddon is called by another name, תחתית, the lowest regions, says Menahem,[10] as does also the Book of Musar.[11] A book called Garden of the Nut[12] says, There are two Gehennæ, an Upper, and a Lower: One designed for the body in this age, the other for the Soul in the coming age. In the New Testament, אֲבַדּוֹן/Abaddon is the Angel of the abyss, and the destroying Angel; just as wickedness is used in place of a wicked men, and treachery in the place of a treacherous man, etc. (Drusius). To John ἄβυσσος, the abyss, and ἀβαδδὼν/abaddon are the same, and Satan is called by him the Angel of the abyss (as by the Jews the Angel of death) and Abaddon, for he is, as it were, the Emperor of Tartarus; with a name imposed upon him from the place in which he rules, just as in the Gospel he who ruled with many Devils in one man is called Legion[13] (Louis Cappel). אֲבַדּוֹן properly is Destruction, Ἀπώλεια, as in Job 28:22. But among those peoples abstract and concrete words are wont to be exchanged for each other. Thus it has come to pass that אֲבַדּוֹן signifies the same thing as אשמודי, foundations or Ashmoday,[14] concerning which name we spoke on 1 Corinthians 10:10. You have the name אֲבַדּוֹן given to a demon in the Aruch.[15] That name is given to Rome in Targum Jerusalem. This name is opposite to the name of Jesus, יהושוע.[16] God makes use of evil and good men, as well as evil and good Angels, to afflict evil men. Now, the Spirit that was stirring those Zealots was destructive indeed: whence the destruction arose to both City and Temple (Grotius). Question: Why call this Abaddon by a name plainly new and unheard of? Response: Perhaps this arose by design, either, 1. so that he might signify that the Mohammedans do not worship (as they boast) the Creator of the World, which in Chaldean and Syriac agrees with עבודע/ Abuda,[17] but a worthless Angel, Abaddon, not the Maker of the World, but the destroyer of it. Just as those who thought themselves to worship God are said to sacrifice to Demons, 2 Chronicles 11:15. Concerning the God of the Arabs, Oboda, see Tertullian on Matthew 2:8, and there Gothofredus[18] and Eusebius in his Concerning the Praise of Constantine 478. Or, 2. so that by a certain Paronomasia of a Royal name he might indicate this people, to whom in accordance with custom it is set down that they call their own Kings, indeed even their gods, by a similar appellation. The King was Oboda among the Nabatæans, assigned by them to a number of their gods, after whom even the name remained to the region; and this name of the Kings of Arabia was made the common name of its region, whence Mohammed at first was going to spring forth with the Locusts. Therefore, as Egyptian Kings are called Pharaohs and Ptolemys, the Roman Kings Cæsars, the Parthian kings Arsacæ, and the neighboring Kings of Arabia Petra Aretæ, so these are called Obodæ.[19] Moreover, both words, Oboda and Abaddon, appear to be from the same root, although, as it is also done elsewhere, with a contrary signification. There are similar allusions in the Prophets, Jeremaih 1:11, 12;[20] Amos 8:2;[21] etc. (Mede’s Works 583).

[In Greek, however, Apollyon, Ἀπολλύων[22]] That is, Destroyer (Vatablus[23]), or, one Destroying (Vatablus, Zegers, Drusius, Piscator, Pareus), namely, himself and his own followers (Pareus); who both destroys the faith of others, and himself hurries to destruction, Revelation 17:11 (Forbes); thence this very one is called the son of perdition, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (Forbes, Pareus), that is, perditus/ruined, or perdendus, to be ruined, by the judgment of God (Pareus). The participle here is in the place of a Name. Thus λέγων, one speaking, is an orator; πορνεύων, one fornicating, is a scortator, one consorting with prostitutes; ἀκούων, one hearing, is an auditor; רוֹפֵא, one healing, is a doctor; מוֹשֵׁל, one ruling, is a lord; etc. (Drusius). He could have said, Ὁλοθρευτὴς/Destroyer, or, Ἐξολοθρεύων, one destroying utterly, but he desired to allude to the name of Apollo, who was, as it were, the God proper to the Cæsars. Ovid:[24] and since thou, O domestic Phœbe,[25] art the imperial Vesta;[26] more specifically, as a result of the victory at Actium,[27] where, as Virgil wished to be believed, the Actian Apollo, decreeing these things, was shooting the bow from above.[28] See Suetonius’[29] “Octavius”[30] 29. Now, just as the Jews were wont by a slight change to turn the names of false gods into an insult, so also here it is done in the Greek name: for Ἀπόλλων/Apollo and Ἀπολλύων/Apollyon are similar. Perhaps someone might consider also ἐτυμολογίαν, the etymology, in view: for some of the Greeks think that he is called Ἀπόλλωνα/Apollo,[31] used, as also Ἐκατηβελέτην, shooting a hundred arrows, and Λοίμνιον/pestilential, because he sends diseases: and they confirm this out of the Iliad 1. On that of Æschylus in Agamemnon, Ἄπολλον, Ἄπολλον, αἰγλῦ τ᾽ ἀπόλλων ἐμός, O Apollo, Apollo, my radiant Apollo, the Scholiast observes that he is made ἀπολλύων, the one destroying, παρὰ τὴν ὁμονυμίαν, by homonymy. Now, the sense is singular. Those Zealots say that they are hostile to the Cæsars as idolaters, while nevertheless they themselves serve the same Spirit that the Cæsars worship in the name of Apollo, and while they as much as possible advance Roman greatness and the ruin of their own nation (Grotius). Apollo is named from ἀπολλύω, to destroy, as Euripides[32] testifies (Drusius). Question: Why is his name set down in both Hebrew and Greek (Cotterius)? Responses: 1. For the sake of better understanding. For it indicates that he is thus to be called knowingly by Christians (Cluverus). That he is of such a kind, the Lord desired it to be known by Jews and Greeks. Our Lord was called both Jesus in Hebrew, and Christ in Greek. This King takes to himself no less honor and dominion, but is described by titles of a contrary signification, namely, that he is an eminent destroyer of the Church, etc. (Durham). 2. So that it might be shown that he is not going to be the proper head of the Jews, or of the Gentiles; but a common imposter, seducing Jews as well as the nations professing Christianity (Forbes), and destroying them, and usurping dominion over both (Durham); yet in the end to be held by both as Antichrist (Forbes), and to be destroyed, as we shall see on Revelation 16 and 19 (Durham).

And they had a king over them, etc.: Solomon saith, Proverbs 30:27, The locusts have no king, yet go they forth by bands; according to which these locusts cannot be understood of insects so called; or, if they have a king, yet it is certain the devil is not their king, who is here called the angel of the bottomless pit. Abaddon; from אָבַד, he hath destroyed. Apollyon; that is, a destroyer; intimating that the whole business of this barbarous enemy should be to ruin and destroy nations.

[1] Greek: καὶ ἔχουσιν ἐπ᾽ αὐτῶν βασιλέα τὸν ἄγγελον τῆς ἀβύσσου· ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἑβραϊστὶ Ἀβαδδών, καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ ὄνομα ἔχει Ἀπολλύων. [2] The Textus Receptus reads ἔχουσιν, they have, in the present tense. Codices Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, together with some Byzantine manuscripts, support this reading. Some Byzantine manuscripts read ἔχουσαι, a feminine plural participle. [3] See Revelation 12:7-9. [4]Ἀβαδδών/Abaddon is a transliteration of אֲבַדּוֹן. [5] Job 26:6: “Hell (שְׁאוֹל) is naked before him, and there is no covering to destruction (לָאֲבַדּוֹן).” [6] Job 28:22: “Destruction (אֲבַדּוֹן; ἡ ἀπώλεια, in the Septuagint) and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.” [7] Job 31:12: “For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction (עַד־אֲבַדּוֹן), and would root out all mine increase.” [8] Psalm 88:11: “Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction (בָּאֲבַדּוֹן)?” [9] The Zohar is one of the principal texts for Kabbalists. It was probably written by Moses de León in the thirteenth century, but it has traditionally been attributed to Simeon ben Jochai, a second century Rabbi and mystic. [10] Rabbi Menahem ben Benymin Recanati (late thirteenth, early fourteenth century) was an Italian Kabbalist. He wrote a commentary on the Torah, and many of the teachings of the ancient rabbis survive only in his works. [11]Sefer ha-Musar (Book of Ethics) was composed in Algeria in the early part of the sixteenth century by Judah ben Abraham Khalaz, a Spanish rabbi and kabbalist. It is an ethical work with kabbalistic content, and is an abridgement of a longer and more scholarly work, Menorat ha-Ma’or, by Israel ben Joseph ibn Al-Nakawa. [12]Garden of the Nut (Ginnat Egoz) was written by Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla (born in 1248, died after 1305), a Spanish kabbalist. Ginnat is composed of the initial letters of “Gematria” (the assigning of numerical value to letters, words, and phrases), “Notarikon” (the deriving of a word from the first or last letters of other words), and “Temurah” (the creation of a new word by formulaic rearranging or replacement of letters). These were three methods used by kabbalists to uncover the secret and mystical meaning of the text. The nut is an emblem of mysticism. This work treats of the various names of God, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and their mystical significance, spirits, and the heavenly bodies. [13] See Mark 5:9, 15; Luke 8:30. [14] Ashmoday was the chief of demons. [15] The Aruch is a celebrated Jewish lexicon published in 1101 by Nathan ben Jehiel of Rome, an Italian Jewish lexicographer (c. 1035-1106), who is sometimes called Baal Aruch. The Aruch is an encyclopedic work that has been expanded greatly since ben Jehiel completed the first edition. [16]יהושוע/Yehoshua, is derived from the verbal root יָשַׁע, to save. See Matthew 1:21. [17]עבודע is derived from the verbal root עֲבַד, to make. [18] James Gothofredus (1587-1652) was a learned lawyer, who served as secretary of state and chief magistrate in Geneva. His edition of Codex Theodosianus was an important contribution to the field of law. [19] These royal titles are derived from particular heads of dynasties. Pharaoh is a generic title for Egyptian kings which began to be used with Amenhotep IV; the term Pharaoh was replaced by Ptolemy with Ptolemy I Soter I, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Roman Emperors were called Cæsars, beginning with Julius Cæsar. The Parthian kings were called Arsacæ, in reference to the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia, beginning with Arsaces I. The Nabatæan kings were called Obodæ, beginning with King Obodas I. The son of Obodas was Aretas III, who expanded his father’s kingdom to include part of Saudi Arabia, with Petra as the capital; hence the dynastic name Aretæ, which overlaps with Obodæ. [20] Jeremiah 1:11, 12: “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree (שָׁקֵד). Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten (שֹׁקֵד) my word to perform it.” שָׁקַד signifies to watch or wake. The almond tree may have received its name,שָׁקֵד , from its early waking from its winter sleep. [21] Amos 8:2: “And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit (קָיִץ). Then said the Lord unto me, The end (הַקֵּץ) is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.” קיץ may signify to be in late summer; from this verbal root, both summer fruit (קַיִץ) and an end (קֵץ) might take their names. [22]Ἀπολλύων is derived from the verbal root ἀπόλλυμι, to destroy. [23] Francis Vatablus (c. 1485-1547) was a prominent Hebrew scholar, doing much to stimulate Hebraic studies in France. He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in Paris (1531). Because of some consonance with Lutheran doctrine, his annotations (Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum), compiled by his auditors, were regarded with the utmost esteem among Protestants, but with a measure of suspicion and concern by Roman Catholics. Consequently, the theologians of Salamanca produced their own edition of Vatablus’ annotations for their revision of the Latin Bible (1584). [24] Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC-17 AD) was a Roman poet. [25]Phœbus is another name for Apollo. [26]Metamorphoses 15:865. Vesta was the Roman goddess of the hearth. [27] The Battle of Actium was fought on September 2, 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the Roman colony of Actium in Greece. It was the decisive battle of the Final War of the Roman Republic between Octavian (Augustus) on the one side and Mark Antony and Cleopatra on the other. Octavian was victorious. The Actian festival of Apollo was reinstituted by Octavian after his victory at Actium. [28]Æneid 8:704. [29] Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 75- c. 130) was a Roman historian. [30] From De Vita XII Cæsarum. [31] The verb ἀπόλλυμι/apollumi signifies to destroy utterly. [32] Euripides (c. 480-406) was a Greek playwright, one of the great tragedians.

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